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Make It Happen Tipsheet

Becoming an efficient thought leader

by Randall Craig on February 24, 2017

Filed in: Blog, Content, Make It Happen Tipsheet

Tagged as: ,

One of the more popular thought leadership “strategies” is to create relevant, provoking, leading-edge content.  Not only does this provide evidence of the thought leader’s special knowledge, but it also helps attract new followers, through sharing (social and real-world), and through discovery (Google, conference speeches, and publicity.)
The most successful thought leaders recognize that this means creating content in multiple formats, using multiple channels, at multiple frequencies. After all, followers all have different preferences on how they may wish to consume this content – they are all individuals, each with their own interests, needs, and constraints.
So far so good, but who has the time to do all of this work?  Most thought leaders already have a day job – this is where they have earned their special expertise. Their business card does not say thought leader, but rather consultant, lawyer, accountant, engineer, CEO, professor, author, and so on. Every minute spent on developing content takes time away from billable work.  Every minute spent posting, tweeting, sharing, and commenting also takes time away from billable work.  (Or, it takes time away from family, the gym, or other activities.)  Who has the time?
There are two strategies that can address this:
1) Delegation:  Why must a thought leader do everything themselves?  Much of the mechanical process of production and dissemination of the content can be delegated to others.  Even the writing and editing can be outsourced.  The entire process can easily be started with a ten minute interview with a writer, which then becomes a single blog post, focused on a unique idea.
2) Repurposing:  Consider the following hierarchy of activities:
  • Convert each blog post into a video;
  • Convert small groups of blog posts into webinars;
  • Convert small groups of blog posts into whitepapers;
  • Convert a group of whitepapers (otherwise known as “chapters”) into a book.
 Even taking one of these ideas, “video”, yields more ways to use the content:
  • Create a video compilation using 2-3 related videos;
  • Slice each video into short sliced segments;
  • Create more blog posts based on these segments;
  • Strip the audio from each video to create podcasts;
  • Create a transcript from each podcast.
3) Delegation (again):  Once the content is produced, then it can be tweeted, posted, and shared, both within social media, as well as in the real world.  Basic comments (thank you’s, etc) can be acknowledged by a staff member acting for the thought leader, while more complex comments and questions might be answered by the thought leader themselves.
This week’s action plan: For most busy people, the question of efficiency and productivity always looms large. If thought leadership is part of your strategy, how might you delegate and repurpose more? If you’re not sure where to start, choose one.
Thought leadership insight #1:  Does it really make sense to do ALL of these things?  Absolutely not!  How much you choose to do can be found at the intersection of two constraints:  The amount of time or dollars that it makes sense to invest in providing evidence of your thought leadership, and perhaps more importantly, the interests and preferences of your target audience.
Thought leadership insight #2:  While thought leaders produce great content, it does not follow that if you produce great content you are a thought leader.  Thought leaders require… followers, both online, and in the real world.  Think you are a thought leader?  Test yourself – you might be surprised.

Note: The Make It Happen Tipsheet is also available by email. Go to to register.

Randall Craig

@RandallCraig (follow me)
:  Professional credentials site
.com: Web strategy, technology, and development
:  Interviews with the nation’s thought-leaders


Six Top Thought Leadership Articles

by Randall Craig on February 17, 2017

Filed in: Blog, Make It Happen Tipsheet,

Tagged as: , ,

For most people in senior roles, the holy grail of recognition is embodied in two terms: Thought Leadership and Trusted Advisor.  Yet too often, these very terms are thrown around, overused, and just perhaps, may be losing their value.

Notwithstanding this, the underlying concepts are powerful – with a matching value in the marketplace.  Here are six posts that explore these concepts:

This first article describes the intersection between Price/Expertise/Trust.

Cheap, Smart, and Trusted

This next article revisits the concept, but asks what happens as each is accelerated. (Hint:  Value/Thought Leadership/Trusted Advisor)

Price, Expertise, and Trust – revisited

Remember the two-by-two Boston Consulting matrix? What happens if Trusted Advisor is on one axis, and Thought Leadership is on the other?  Many people have a star self-image, but the reality is they are really just golfers or academics.  (Nothing wrong with golf or academia; the issue is the gap between self-image and reality.)

Commodities, Academics, Golfers, and Stars

A key benefit of thought leadership is influence: this article describes how to assess it in others… and in yourself:

Ten Tests for Assessing Influence

This next article answers the question of how to start on the journey, and ties it to content marketing.

Content Marketing and Thought Leadership

While Thought Leadership is important for the individual, powerful organizations become more powerful when everyone is thinking.  This article shares how:

Insight: Building a Thinking Organization

This week’s action plan:  Not happy with your influence?  More a Golfer than a Star?  This week, choose one thing to do about it.

Bonus webinar, Feb 22, 2017, noon ET (no cost):  Join Randall Craig for  It’s not called Thought Followership (no cost).   Register and more information:


Note: The Make It Happen Tipsheet is also available by email. Go to to register.

Randall Craig

@RandallCraig (follow me)



Bloated Websites: Transparency vs. Accessibility

by Randall Craig February 10, 2017

How often are you frustrated by websites that have so many pages, it is impossible to actually find anything? Unfortunately, this is all to common of a complaint.  Websites are often used as corporate dumping grounds for every bit of information from every new initiative, often spanning backwards into the decades.  And every time the website is […]

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Customer Service: Automated, Templated, or Customized

by Randall Craig February 3, 2017

Many organizations struggle with setting up a social media (or email) response strategy.  How do you trust front line staff to answer properly, if they don’t know the policies?  How do you have a consistent response, no matter who responds, or when?  And how do you minimize service costs, while maintaining service quality? One thing is certain: […]

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Seven Disruptive Business Models

by Randall Craig January 27, 2017

Do you see your website, CRM, social media, and other digital initiatives as a way to improve service levels, market your organization, or be a central part of your thought leadership strategy?  While important, at best these are tactical approaches:  too often the bigger opportunity of digital transformation is ignored. This isn’t surprising, as digital initiatives are often driven from […]

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Insight: Software Costs in the Age of the Cloud

by Randall Craig January 20, 2017

Software has a cost, but it may not be as clear as you may think.  Yes, purchasing Excel may be straightforward, but what about CRM, Marketing Automation, a new financial system, or any other core database that requires collaboration across the organization? In the olden days, it was relatively simple:  the application was usually custom-written, and […]

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Five Steps to Reduce Risk

by Randall Craig January 13, 2017

Are you keen on risk?  Do you seek it out?  Most people and organizations don’t – and for good reason.  Yet risk is not necessarily bad: it is part of the risk-return equation; it identifies potential opportunity… and exposure. What is bad is unnecessary risk.  This simple framework can help: Step One: Identify all of […]

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New year, new thinking?

by Randall Craig January 6, 2017

While the new year may in fact be refreshing, have you ever considered that your approach to marketing might be, at best, dated? That you might be following a strategy of incremental improvement, when a completely new approach might be what is really called for?  If so, you’re not alone.  But why? It is much easier […]

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14 key digital planning reads for 2017

by Randall Craig December 30, 2016

Do you have a pile of reading, perhaps sitting at the corner of your desk?  Clippings that seem particularly important that you would get to “at some point”?  Or perhaps, a digital version kept safely in an obscure folder, just waiting for you to find the time to read? These clippings are particularly important, as they provide […]

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by Randall Craig December 23, 2016

Wikipedia defines consumerization as the reorientation of product and service designs to focus on (and market to) the end user as an individual consumer, vs an earlier era of organization-oriented offerings.  It speaks to growing markets by looking for a completely different category of buyer, who may also be an influencer for the organizational purchase. Of greater […]

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Brand values: reporter or columnist?

by Randall Craig December 16, 2016

Would you rather be a reporter, or a columnist? Reporters have a great combination of investigative skills, communication skills, moxy, and pluck. Columnists are made from the same raw material, but they get paid far more.  Why? Readers care more about what a particular person is saying than what a generic person says. Said another way, a staff reporter […]

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13 Resources for Writers

by Randall Craig December 9, 2016

Do you wish that you could be more effective with the written word?   Have you always hated writing, from the first time your grade three teacher insisted you write two paragraphs on what you did during the summer?  Or maybe you enjoy the idea of writing, but you don’t enjoy the reality of writer’s block. Written communication […]

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Websites: strategic assets or the newest commodity?

by Randall Craig December 2, 2016

There is an old “joke” in the web development world that is both funny and sad:  What is the difference between a $20,000 website, a $200,000 website, and a $2 million one?  Answer:  The gullibility of the client. In 24 years of building websites, we have yet to meet a gullible client, which is why […]

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Problem Solving with Appreciative Enquiry

by Randall Craig November 25, 2016

In the olden days, external advisors would be called in whenever there is a problem to be solved.  Proposals would be reviewed, contracts negotiated, references checked, and the engagement would begin. The consulting team would show up, diagnose the source of the problem, and help the management team focus exclusively on getting rid of the bad.  Then […]

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Building Front-line Buy-in

by Randall Craig November 18, 2016

If there has been one significant change in the area of marketing and engagement, it is the almost complete ubiquity of “programs”.  Some of them have names like Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and YouTube.  Others have names like Salesforce, Marketo, Dynamics, and Infusionsoft.  Yet despite the great fanfare, why does the system’s promise rarely materialize? Consider how the system is […]

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Don’t tell me how to think: Trump, Trudeau, and the realpolitik of marketing today

by Randall Craig November 11, 2016

Was there really a surprise that Donald Trump won the American election?  Or that Justin Trudeau won the Canadian one?  Or that Brexit happened? While Americans may eventually rue their choice of president, these three results have much in common: Politicians and insiders who are perceived as privileged, and think that they know better. An enormous group of pundits, intelligentsia, […]

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Inclusive Communications – Avoiding the Uniformity Trap

by Randall Craig November 4, 2016

As a speaker or writer, one of the most powerful techniques is to look for common cause with your audience.  This may mean using words or imagery that conjure up something from a shared past, or play to a shared cultural experience. Unfortunately, this very same technique is unwittingly used to the exact opposite effect: it excludes.  And when […]

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Six Ways to Sabotage your Consultants

by Randall Craig October 28, 2016

Why are all consulting projects not wildly successful?  Why are some merely acceptable, and others fail? Without a doubt, consultants are often to blame: they over-promise, under-scope, or take on assignments with unrealistic deadlines.  Yet clients also control the outcome of the engagement, and often, unwittingly, sabotage their consultants. Here are six ways this is done: 1) Selection […]

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How journalists improve reader engagement

by Randall Craig October 21, 2016

What is the one lesson that appears in every newspaper article, every magazine article, and for that matter, every bestselling book?  Journalists and editors realize that they have to work exceptionally hard to get people to actually read what they write. And unless you actually do so, their work has no value – so they have become experts […]

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The Power of Diversity

by Randall Craig October 14, 2016

The term diversity has become associated with the human rights movement, and lives in the same space with terms such as enforcement, quotas, and affirmative action.  Despite these seemingly negative terms, there is a powerful case for organizations to adopt a positive and proactive approach to diversity. The usual argument for diversity is that an […]

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